Saturday, June 30, 2012

Doing It Write

This is the thirteenth year that I've been publishing my weekly newsletter, Doing It Write. It goes out around the world to mostly writers since writing and publishing is the focus of Doing It Write.
It has a standard format. I start with a topic from me. (Recently, I did a six-part series on publishing on Kindle.) There's always a contest for writers and an event or conference. Then there are snippets from an article about writing, followed by two links writers might be interested in.

The newsletter is all text, no pictures. I considered converting it to a magazine format, but when I asked subscribers if they would prefer pictures, every single answer said, no. So, it remains text only.

The reason I'm telling all of you about Doing It Write is to see if any of you would like to guest post in an issue. It would need to be on a topic related to writing, publishing, entering writing contests, etc. Some topic that's writing-related. It would also need to be short, under 300 words. That would allow a little bit of space for me to introduce you.

If you're a writer or in the writing/publishing industry, let me know if you'd like to guest post.  You'd need to write a short post and include a really short bio. Since it's all text, I can't embed links, but I can list them. If you're interested, email me at: mermaidhelATgmailDOTcom.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Organizing Chaos

Guess what? I'm wielding the Blood Red Pencil today. I'm not editing, though. I'm talking about organizing chaos. 18 stories and 15 authors and one anthology, The Corner Cafe.

Come by and join in the conversation. I'd love to hear what you have to say.

Last Call at The Corner Café

Today is the last stop in the month-long blog tour for the short story anthology, The Corner Café. It's been a long but fun month.

And we're ending it with a bang. Head over to Stephen Tremp's blog and join in on the celebration.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Style Clarity Workbook

Style clarity is something I definitely could use for my wardrobe, so I am really happy to welcome Bianca Chesimard, author of The Style Clarity Workbook, to Straight FromHel.  Bianca is also the creator of the Style Clarity website and blog.  She spent several years in the data analysis field, which, combined with a love for fashion and style, led her to develop the Style Clarity method and write the workbook.  She is a wife and mother, and enjoys a stylish life in Virginia.

Please welcome Bianca Chesimard.

Helen asked me a little about my process when writing The Style Clarity Workbook so I thought I would explain how the book came together as a whole.

At one point in my life, I really needed to start looking more "put together", and also needed a consistent and usable wardrobe. I spent plenty of cash, but wore the same couple of things all the time. After looking for some help on the topic, I discovered there were not many resources to turn to. Books covered body shapes or colors, but did not give insight into how being a fruit or a season helped you make your wardrobe into your own. TV gurus provided magic makeovers to people, but gave little advice to viewers at home about how to make the outfits personal. So, being a practical person, I decided to come up with my own methods. As a marketing analyst by trade, I knew how to collect and analyze data, why not run some "numbers" on myself? :)

I started by tracking what I actually wore, and discovered how little of my wardrobe I was wearing on a day to day basis. Many other activities and ideas followed, and I kept record of it all in journals, notebooks and a binder. Upon later reflection, I found a particular series of activities that helped me make the most strides in developing my style. When I shared these ideas with friends and family, they strongly encouraged me to share the methods with others. 

Because I seem to do most things backwards, I actually started the book by creating the worksheets and activities. In an early part of my career, I developed training materials, and used some of these skills to create the worksheets and instructions.  I scoured my books and refined not only the activities, but the intent behind them. I wanted to make sure each step was going to benefit the reader, and move them a step closer to their goal.  It was also important that it not feel like WORK. It had to be fun, and not complicated, or difficult.  A hard balance to strike!
 
After I was satisfied with the quality of the lessons I wanted to teach, I moved on to the narrative. I started explaining the Why of each activity. What was the reader going to get by completing each activity? When I felt the “What” and “Why” of the book was complete, I knew I still needed the “Who”. The voices of other women who were in the same place as those reading the book would be the final touch. I collected (and solicited) stories from friends, blog readers, co-workers, pretty much anyone who ever used any of my advice. This was the final step.

Once the words were together, I worked VERY closely with my book designer to make sure each worksheet looked, and flowed exactly as it needed to within the book. Since these are really the “heart” of the book, it was important we get them just right.

All in all, I think I probably wrote the book backwards, but it worked out just right for me. In the end, The Style Clarity Workbook is a step by step guide to developing style, and using that to create a wardrobe that represents your personality.  It’s pretty fun to think a collection of my thoughts, rambles and experiments turned into such a beautiful project. I hope you get a chance to check out The Style Clarity Workbook!

 Thank you Bianca.

I don't know about the rest of you, but I was born without much in the way of a Style gene. And I don't worry too much about style when I sit at my computer every day, but I do have occasions to dress up. I'm thinking I sorely need The Style Clarity Workbook.

You can follow Bianca on her blog tour for The Style Clarity Workbook. Any questions for Bianca?

(After leaving your comment, link over and visit Mary Montague Sikes' blog. This is the next to the last stop on the blog tour for The Corner Café and Mary has a great story, A Face in the Window, in the anthology.)

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Laura Eno and Other News

 Laura Eno is one of my favorite authors. Recently, when I went to a conference, her anthology, Demon in the Basement and Other Stories To Keep You Awake At Night, was the book I took with me to read. (On the plane, not before going to bed!)


Now, she has a space opera novella called Wraith. It's part of the Carriena Oracles series.  And today is the launch date! Link over to her Amazon author page or her blog to find out more. Here's an intro for Wraith:
Someone wants them dead. Another wants them captured. No one can be trusted. Secrets, lies, and revelations await Raven and Mikael as their search for Mikael's missing friend leads them to Wraith, a mysterious moon owned by Jeffrey Hamilton, cybernetics genius and Ben's creator. How much of the Oracle's technology does Hamilton possess and where did it come from?
Raven's nightmares from the past threaten her sanity, while Mikael's guilt slowly consumes him. Ben's in more danger than anyone as they race to find the answers to uncertain questions—questions which could lead to death for them all.

And while you're out and about, if you haven't already downloaded and read the anthology, The Corner Café: A Tasty Collection of Short Stories, link over and check out this anthology. (Disclaimer: Two of my stories are included in The Corner Café.) To find out more about the authors and the anthology, visit Maryann Miller's blog today.

And, finally, my latest book is Angel Sometimes, the story of a girl who was abandoned to the streets at the age of 12, started swimming at a bar/restaurant as a mermaid at the age of 17, and at 22 goes home to confront the parents who gave her $50 and dropped her 800 miles from home. Her journey from the streets to home makes her strong. The people who stand by her make her family.

You can go to Angel Sometimes' Amazon page to read the book description, as well as read the beginning of the book. To read the sample, just click the arrow above the book cover.

But before you do that, head over to Laura Eno's Author Page. You can see the list of all her books, as well as her latest book, Wraith. It's debuting today! Isn't that a fabulous cover? I love it.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

SB Lerner


Today, SB Lerner is hosting The Corner Café. Lerner is the author of A Suitable Husband, as well as the short story, Since You Left. Today, she's hosting another of the contributors to the anthology, The Corner Café -- Karen Casey Fitzjerrell, author of The Dividing Season, a wonderful historical book, and author of my favorite story in The Corner Café, What's Next.

Monday, June 25, 2012

What's Cookin' at The Corner Café?


The Corner Café is a great short story anthology. The authors and members of Blog Book Tour are taking The Corner Café on a month-long tour across the blogosphere.

Two of my stories are on The Corner Café's bookshelves: Gila Monster and One Last Run.

Today, you can join us over on Pat Stoltey's blog.

While you're there, order a slice of apple pie with vanilla ice cream to enjoy.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Angel Sometimes Stats

 Angel Sometimes has been on Amazon for about three weeks now. Last weekend, it was available for free downloading. Between this blog and my newsletter, Doing It Write, I have a lot of authors or soon-to-be-published authors who follow. So I thought I'd share a couple of the statistics on sales of Angel Sometimes.

That first free weekend didn't result in thousands of downloads, but it did get hundreds. I have to admit, I'm not anal about checking sales and stats. I tend to forget for days, but I did look Sunday morning, after it'd been free all day Saturday and Saturday night, if there were any night owls roaming Amazon.

As of Sunday morning, 515 people had downloaded the free Angel Sometimes. (If you were one of those readers, thank you very much.)

At 8:30 in the morning, Angel Sometimes was ranked #65,411 Paid in Kindle Store.

Then at 7:30 in the evening, Angel Sometimes was ranked #56,711 Paid in Kindle Store.
(Those were the only two times I checked it.)

At 2 p.m., Saturday, Angel Sometimes was #1,590 Free in Kindle Store and #43 in Kindle Store > …> Suspense. (Pardon the snapshots. I can't tell whether they'll be readable or not!)



By Sunday morning, Angel Sometimes was doing better:
#644 Free in Kindle Store and #26 in Kindle Store > … > Suspense.


Overall, I'm quite happy with how Angel Sometimes is doing. I'm still planning on doing a blog tour for it, but will wait until the tour for The Corner Café is over.

For those of you who are on Amazon with your books, do you constantly check stats or do you forget, like me?

Friday, June 22, 2012

Book Review: The Right Guard

 The Right Guard by Alexandra Hamlet is an historical suspense. In 1978, people in the government begin to realize that military equipment and a lot of weapons are missing. When they investigate, the weapons reappear.  The losses begin to increase until they surmise this could be the preparation for an overthrow of the government. That's when Eric Bent, a CIA operative, goes deep undercover.

From the time he infiltrates the movement, called The Right Guard, his life is constantly in danger, not just from those working to overtake the government, but also from anyone who knows his true identity, including someone he loves. The real question is whether Bent and others can find out enough information, identify enough of the players involved, and catch up to a plot that is already far ahead of their gathered intelligence.

Hamlet, the author, includes, at the beginning of many of the chapters, actual reports of stolen or missing equipment from that time period. Just knowing that so much equipment could disappear from the National Guard and the Reserves armories was sobering.

The story felt real enough to make me wonder if this could happen in real life. The Right Guard is a book I'd recommend to my brother-in-law who served in the National Guard. And I would recommend it to you, as well.

Amazon  

Barnes and Noble  

I give The Right Guard a rating of Hel-of-a-Story.
********************
FTC Disclaimer: The Right Guard was sent to me by Tiffani Milam with Finn Partners. That did not influence my review. I finished reading The Right Guard weeks ago, but didn't post a review because that was around the time the BBT group started a month long tour for the short story anthology, The Corner Café, and that put a halt to just about anything other than the tour. But over the weeks, my guilt built and I decided that I had to post my review.  I have two other books lined up in the review corral. For those of you who stopped by expecting a link to today's post about The Corner Café, you'll want to head over to Karen Casey Fitzjerrell's blog. Her short story is my favorite. But leave a comment here first. You're also welcome to Like, Share, Facebook, Tweet it or just yell out your window, but, no, I won't bail you out of jail for scaring folks walking by.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Cookin' at The Corner Cafe

The Corner Café moves around a lot. Today, it's parked at Alberta Ross' blog. There will be plenty of seating, soft music in the background, and a guest speaker at the microphone while you sip your water or tea. 

Be sure you stick around for the Q&A. Just post your questions in the Comments section.

Transformative Writing or Getting to the End

 Author S.B. Lerner is guest posting today on Straight From Hel while I'm over on Alberta Ross' blog. Lerner is the author of In The Middle of Almost and Other Stories and A Suitable Husband. She's also included in the short story anthology, The Corner Café. She grew up in and around New York City and has worked in law, business and teaching. Her passion, though, is writing.

Please welcome S.B. Lerner.

Transformative Writing or Getting to the End

I've always loved losing myself in a good novel. For me 'good' means flawed but likable characters engaged in a struggle of some kind. It means an unfamiliar setting, with enough historical accuracy that I feel I have learned something about another place or time. And I've always liked rebels. Oftentimes young rebels, although as I get older I like to see characters of any age fight their demons and grow and change.

I began writing my own novel a few years ago, after years of writing and publishing short stories. The stories were like explorations of a feeling or a moment in time, but a novel is a more complicated, plot-driven best. It required research, editing, and thinking on a grander scale. And I discovered that the act of writing a novel was equally, if not more transformative than reading those written by others. All the clichéd comments in writers’ circles about getting so lost in the story that it seems to write itself, about characters taking over and refusing to do what you tell them to do, were true, at least they were for me.

This became most clear to me when I wrote the ending.

In my first draft there was a "Lady and the Tiger" ending. My protagonist had her final chance to choose between responsibility and passion, and the reader was left (after some musing on the pros and cons)with only an ambiguous hint as to what she decides. While that ending engendered some feisty discussions among my early readers, the bottom line was that they hated it.

So I decided to write a more decisive ending and set out, fingers on keyboard, to bring my heroine to the decision I thought she should make. That was when it got strange. She didn't want to do it. As I typed, the plot moved forward in ways I hadn't anticipated, turning and twisting and ending up with her making the opposite decision. I was so perplexed that I forced myself to write it again with my ending, but when I read it over, I realized it was wooden and flat and not at all organic to my character.

So her ending won. Go figure.

Thank you, S.B.

Have your characters ever talked to you or taken control of telling their story? Did you listen to them?
(I hope you'll link over and say "hi" to me while I'm posting on  Alberta Ross' blog. I'm talking about joining forces with other writers. See you there.)

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Shonell Bacon




Click over to Shonell Bacon's blog to find out which of The Corner Café authors is there posting.

Shonnell has a great blog called Chick Lit Gurrl.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Join me today over on Pat Bean's blog as part of the book tour for The Corner Café, a great anthology of short stories.

Pat's blog focuses on travel. She has some amazing pictures, so be sure to scroll down to see some of them. While you're there, leave a comment and say "hi".

Monday, June 18, 2012

Morgan Mandel



Today, I'm over on Morgan Mandel's blog. I'll be talking about the two stories I contributed to The Corner Café anthology: Gila Monster and One Last Run. I'm also going to touch on the question, How long is a short story?

Hope you'll link over and leave a comment. Feel free to leave a comment here, too. Did any of you download your free copy of Angel Sometimes this past weekend?

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Angel Sometimes is Free

I've scheduled my book, Angel Sometimes, to be free this weekend on Amazon. I hope every single one of you will go download it to your Kindle or Kindle app. (Don't have an eReader? You can get a Kindle app for your pc!) Amazon has a page with all the different gadgets you can use to read Kindle books on.

I would describe Angel Sometimes as women's fiction, but you guys can read it, too. Especially if you want to know more about swimming as a mermaid, which should be quite a few of you since I keep getting calls for more Mermaid Tales. This is a rather long mermaid tale since Angel swims at a bar/restaurant. Even my husband is reading it and he's a diehard Thriller/Suspense reader.

Here's a teaser for Angel Sometimes:
Angel Sometimes has a plan. Go home to ask her mother why she loved her one day, then threw her out like garbage the next.

Just before her thirteenth birthday, Angel was taken 800 miles from her home in Oklahoma, given $50 and left on South Padre Island, Texas. Four years later, Angel started the trek into her past. She hitchhiked to Austin and got a job swimming as a mermaid in a bar in the music district. At twenty-two, she has friends, a place to live, and a future. When a homeless girl is beaten and a waitress killed, Angel realizes she will never be whole until she confronts her parents.

It's time to quit planning and go home. To do that, she needs three things: her high school diploma, a car and a gun. She has a car. She’s finished her final test for her GED. The only thing she needs is the gun and she knows where to get one.
Tell all your friends to take advantage of this weekend's Angel Sometimes giveaway. If you read Angel Sometimes and like it, I would very much appreciate it if you wrote a review and posted it on Amazon.

Friday, June 15, 2012

LinkedIn

How many of you are on LinkedIn? If you're not, you might want to check it out. If you are, keep reading -- they have a new add-on. LinkedIn used to be known as the place to go to put up your resume and to connect with other professionals in your industry.

It still is that place, but bit by bit, it is moving to encompass more ways to interact. For example, I noticed this week that you can now list your publications. They have a form you fill out for each one. You fill in the title, publisher, date of publication, author(s), and a brief description of the publication.

I updated my page on LinkedIn to include my latest book, Angel Sometimes; the short story anthology I contributed to, The Corner Café; and my three nonfiction books in TSTC Publishing's TechCareers series: Automotive Technology, Avionics and Computer Gaming.

I like this change to LinkedIn. I'd like it even more if I could figure out how to move Publications to the top of the page. If you figure that out, let me know.

The blog tour for the short story anthology, The Corner Café, continues. You'll find today's post on Kathy Wheeler's blog.

P.S. Come back tomorrow. I'll have an announcement about my fiction book, Angel Sometimes.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Morgan Mandel on Life Altering Events

 Our guest today is Morgan Mandel. Morgan is a past president of Chicago-North RWA, was Library Liaison for Midwest RWA, belongs to EPIC and Sisters in Crime. She enjoys the diversity of writing mysteries, thrillers, and romances. Her current release is the thriller, Forever Young: Blessing or Curse. Her others include the romantic suspense, Killer Career, the romantic comedy, Girl of My Dreams, and her debut mystery, Two Wrongs. As you might guess from the title of today's post, Morgan has offered to talk about life altering events.

Please welcome Morgan Mandel.

Life Altering Events

Both of my stories in The Corner Café: A Tasty Collection of Short Stories deal with life altering events.

In What Nice Blessings, Suze’s Dad finds a new job and her family must move from their home town. This happens right before her first day at high school. She’s stressed by the thought of leaving her best friend behind and entering a new environment amongst strangers. In the process of relocating, a more drastic event takes place, dwarfing Suze’s prior fears, and testing her mettle.

In The Closing of the Corner Café, a couple takes a huge step by starting their own business, a corner café. With no guaranty their venture will succeed; they, like many entrepreneurs, are still plucky enough to give it a try. It takes courage to invest time and money in such an enterprise.

 Each of us face countless life altering events. Ranking number one has to be being born in the first place.

On the upside, some might be: Starting school, graduating, getting or changing a job, making friends, moving to a new town, new house or apartment, meeting a life partner, getting married, having children, grandchildren, or even adopting an animal. I was born in Chicago, moved to a suburb, lived in several different apartments, before finally buying a house. I was introduced to my husband in the cafeteria at college and we’ve been married for over 39 years. Though we were never blessed with children, we’ve always shared our home with an adopted dog, the current one being Rascal.

On the downside, it’s hard to avoid any of these sad events: Death of a family member or friend, illness, unemployment, estrangement in the family or of a friend, foreclosure, unsettled weather. I’ve suffered the loss of both parents, and some good friends, have dealt with my share of illnesses, some minor, and others chronic, such as high blood pressure and thyroid issues. I lost my job, which turned into a blessing in disguise, and have since retired. Last July’s flood left seven inches of water in the basement and it was no picnic cleaning up the mess. I’m hoping that will never happen again. 

It may not be easy to deal with whatever comes our way. How we relate to the good and bad not only tests our character, but is also what life is all about.

Do you have a particular life altering event you’d like to share -- One that’s either happened to you, or someone you know, either real or fictional?
***
Thank you Morgan. You're so right when you said that some of our most trying experiences can turn out to be blessings. (Giving birth came first to my mind.)

Here are some places you can click to find out more about Morgan and her books, as well as to connect with her online:
Amazon Author Central Page
Blog  
Excerpts & All Buy Links to Morgan’s novels 
Facebook
Twitter 

Remember, leave a comment about your own life altering events - or even ones that happened to someone you know or to one of your characters, if you're a writer.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Shaking and Baking

The cooks are busy today at the Corner Café.  They're prepping some special stories, just for you.

A group of writers got together and created a short story anthology called The Corner Café. We're inviting all of you to come on in, take a seat and enjoy the tales.  All month long we have a special going on: A Blog Tour with each author posting on a blog. Every day, I'll link to the Corner Café blog post. You'll get to meet the authors and hear about the anthology.

The Corner Cafe costs only 99 cents. We're keeping the price low so everyone can afford to buy the book, but we're not keeping any of the royalties. All royalties will go to a charity.

Today's special is cooking over on Chris Verstraete's blog.

Be sure you come back here tomorrow, when the multi-published, fabulous author, Morgan Mandel will be here serving up a great dish.

You can tip here at The Corner Café  -- Just Like, Tweet, Facebook, G+, or whatever you can do to help us get the word out.




(While you're checking out The Corner Cafe, feel free to browse my book, Angel Sometimes.)

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Booth or Table?

You can have your choice at the Corner Café, booth, table or sitting at the counter.

A group of writers got together and created a short story anthology called The Corner Café. We're inviting all of you to come on in, take a seat and enjoy the tales.  All month long we have a special going on: A Blog Tour with each author posting on a blog. Every day, I'll link to the Corner Café blog post. You'll get to meet the authors and hear about the anthology.

The Corner Cafe costs only 99 cents. We're keeping the price low so everyone can afford to buy the book, but we're not keeping any of the royalties. All royalties will go to a charity.

Today's special is cooking over on W.S. Gager's blog.

You can tip here at The Corner Café  -- Just Like, Tweet, Facebook, G+, or whatever you can do to help us get the word out.

Monday, June 11, 2012

We're Now Seating at the Corner Café

A group of writers got together and created a short story anthology called The Corner Café. We're inviting all of you to come on in, take a seat and enjoy the tales.  All month long we have a special going on: A Blog Tour with each author posting on a blog. Every day, I'll link to the Corner Café blog post. You'll get to meet the authors and hear about the anthology.

The Corner Cafe costs only 99 cents. We're keeping the price low so everyone can afford to buy the book, but we're not keeping any of the royalties. All royalties will go to a charity.

Today's special is cooking over on Marian Allen's blog.

You can tip here at the Corner Café:  Just Like, Tweet, Facebook, G+, or whatever you can do to help us get the word out.

Saturday, June 09, 2012

Everything's Free at the Corner Café

This weekend, both Saturday and Sunday, you can download the short story anthology, The Corner Café, for free.  If you wait until Monday, it'll cost 99 cents.  Ninety-nine cents isn't much, so if you decide to wait, keep in mind you'll get some great stories, plus all royalties go to charity.

The authors are touring all month long, but they're taking weekends off. Stop back by on Monday and I'll have a link for you to go read that day's post.

I have two stories included in the anthology: Gila Monster and One Last Run. You can also find my latest book, Angel Sometimes on Amazon.

If you buy The Corner Cafe and like it, please post a review on Amazon.

Friday, June 08, 2012

Everyone's Welcome at the Corner Café

 A group of writers got together and created a short story anthology called The Corner Café. We're inviting all of you to come on in, take a seat and enjoy the tales.  All month long we have a special going on: A Blog Tour with each author posting on a blog. Every day, I'll link to The Corner Café blog post. You'll get to meet the authors and hear about the anthology.

The Corner Cafe costs 99 cents. We're keeping the price low so everyone can afford to buy the book, but we're not keeping any of the royalties. All royalties will go to a charity.

Today's special is cooking over on Heidi Thomas' blog.

You can tip here at The Corner Café by: Like, Tweet, Facebook, G+, or whatever you can do to help us get the word out.

Thursday, June 07, 2012

Libraries

I came across an article about a panel at BEA 2012. The article was called "BEA2012: What Librarians Wish Publishers Knew". The article, of course, talked about the institutional publishers, but I think it has information for self-published authors, as well.
 … it became very clear during the talk that, with 9,000 library systems across America, libraries are robust places to discover and share books. Of those 9,000 systems, a good thousand have four or more branches. And according to Rawlinson, when libraries survey their public, libraries translate into books. 
Some libraries even have an online system for checking to see  if they have a certain book you may be looking for … and if they don't, the system will help you find the nearest independent bookseller.

Keep in mind, too, that if patrons like a particular book, the library often will buy more copies to keep in stock. And libraries can often do a lot to promote a book they especially like, such as highlighting it on their website.

And, although not mentioned in this article, most libraries now carry e-books.

I think libraries are essential to the public. Many people can't afford to buy even a low-priced book like mine, but they can check out books and e-books from their library.

As a reader, how many books do you check out of your local library? If you're an author, have you managed to get your book in your local library?

Speaking of reading, a short story anthology, The Corner Café, has just come out. Two of my stories are included in it: Gila Monster and One Last Run. All the authors involved are doing a month-long book tour. Drop by and read today's post over at Magic Dog Press. One thing about this book that I think is fabulous is that all royalties go to charity.

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Angel Sometimes



 My first fiction book is out! Woo-woo.

 I was, of course, excited when each of my non-fiction books came out, but having AngelSometimes available on Amazon is even more exciting. Probably because the three non-fiction books were based on tons of research and interviewing experts. With Angel Sometimes, Angel came out of my head and onto the page. 

She seemed to come to life and tell me her story, but, of course, she was a character in my imagination. The story is hers. But part of it is mine.

Here on Straight From Hel, I sometimes tell Mermaid Tales - snippets from my time as a mermaid at Aquarena Springs. I get requests for more of those Mermaid Tales.  Angel Sometimes works as a mermaid, although not at a resort show. She's a mermaid at a bar/restaurant called The Aquarium. So, if any of you are wanting to know more about being a mermaid, you'll find it in this book.

Of course, it's different since she's swimming in a more confined area than I did. She's also in more danger than I was since there is only one way in or out of the tank. I, on the other hand, could swim back to the staging hole or just surface. But she does a lot of the things I did as a mermaid, from eating and drinking underwater to spinning dervishes.

The story isn't totally about her swimming as a mermaid, though. It's about her past and how she will ultimately confront that past. You can read more about Angel Sometimes on Amazon, including the beginning pages.

Here's what I call the back cover blurb:
Angel Sometimes has a plan. She's going home to ask her mother why she loved her one day, then threw her out like garbage the next.

Just before her thirteenth birthday, Angel was taken 800 miles from her home in Oklahoma, given $50 and left on South Padre Island, Texas. Four years later, Angel started the trek into her past. She hitchhiked to Austin and got a job swimming as a mermaid in a bar in the music district. At twenty-two, she has friends, a place to live, and a future. When a homeless girl is beaten and a waitress killed, Angel realizes she will never be whole until she confronts her parents.

It's time to quit planning and go home. To do that, she needs three things: her high school diploma, a car and a gun. She has a car. She’s finished her final test for her GED. The only thing she needs is the gun and she knows where to get one.
Another book debuting is The Corner Café, an anthology of short stories. All the authors involved are doing a month long book tour. Drop by and read what Red Tash and her guest have to say about the anthology and their own story. One thing about this book that I think is fabulous is that all royalties go to charity.

I'm hoping to set up a blog tour for Angel Sometimes. Let me know if you'd like to host me. Also, if you decide to spend the $3.99 to buy the book for your Kindle or Kindle app, I hope you like it. If you do, I hope you'll post a review on Amazon or Goodreads or your own blog. If you post a review, let me know and I'll announce it in my newsletter, Doing It Write, which is in its thirteenth year of publication. (Remember to send the direct link to the review or post so I can include that, as well.)

Monday, June 04, 2012

We're doing a Blog Book Tour!

The Blog Book Tour authors share their shorts in the Corner Café. Come take a peek. We're off on a tour and would love for you to come along. Buy the anthology, The Corner Café, for only 99 cents, then follow the blog, meet the authors, ask questions, leave comments, all while sipping coffee or tea and tasting the café's famous sweet potato pie. Enjoy the stories and get to know the BBT Café authors: Marian Allen, Shonell Bacon, Karen Casey Fitzjerrell, W.S. Gager, Helen Ginger, Dani Greer, S.B. Lerner, Audrey Lintner, Morgan Mandel, Maryann Miller, Bodie Parkhurst, Bob Sanchez, Mary Montague Sikes, Red Tash, Christine Verstraete.

We're doing a Blog Book Tour!

June 4 Blog Book Tours Kick-off http://blogbooktours.blogspot.com
June 5 Bob Sanchez http://bobsanchez1.blogspot.com
June 6 Red Tash http://RedTash.com
June 7 Magic Dog http://www.magicdogpress.wordpress.com
June 8 Heidi Thomas http://heidiwriter.wordpress.com

June 9 Blog Book Tours blog Free day
June 10 Blog Book Tours blog Sunday Free Day

June 11 Marian Allen http://www.marianallen.com/
June 12 W.S Gager http://wsgager.blogspot.com
June 13 Chris Verstraete http://candidcanine.blogspot.com
June 14 Helen Ginger http://straightfromhel.blogspot.com
June 15 Kathy Wheeler

June 16 Saturday
June 17 Sunday

June 18 Morgan Mandel Double M http://morganmandel.blogspot.com
June 19 Pat Bean http://patbean.wordpress.com
June 20 Shonell Bacon http://chicklitgurrl.blogspot.com
June 21 Alberta Ross http://albertaross.wordpress.com
June 22 Karen Casey Fitzjerrell http://karencaseyfitzjerrell.blogspot.com (possible free day? Not sure yet.)

June 23 Saturday
June 24 Sunday

June 25 Pat Stoltey http://patriciastoltey.blogspot.com
June 26 SB Lerner http://www.susanblerner.com
June 27 Maryann Miller http://its-not-all-gravy.blogspot.com/
June 28 Mary Montague Sikes http://marymontaguesikes.blogspot.com
June 29 Stephen Tremp http://breakthroughblogs.blogspot.com

I have two stories included in The Corner Café:
Gila Monster: Neree, who parked her beat-up truck, Gila Monster, in the senior parking lot, hopes to find it still there at the end of school, but what she finds is an unexpected possibility.

One Last Run: When a couple ski a black diamond run in a blizzard, the truth of what happened is in the blood, in One Last Run.

You can find out more about the stories in The Corner Café at: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0085YDO7E

Saturday, June 02, 2012

Amazon Moves Forward

We all know how what an impact has made on the book world. CNET has an article on how Amazon is changing not only the publishing world, but the movie world.

First of all, Amazon just released the first book from Amazon Publishing. It's called "Jeff, One Lonely Guy". Why are they doing this? Well, because they can.
Amazon is jumping headlong into the business of creating content because, more than any other company, it has the potent combination of a massive base of customers and the vast technical underpinning with which to bring those customers new ways of consuming books, movies, and television programs. And as that content becomes ever more digitized, Amazon wants to call the shots as to how those books and programs are created, delivered, and sold.
They're also now moving into movies.
Anyone can upload a screenplay or television pilot script to the Amazon Studios Web site, where Amazon and the community it's developed weed out the weakest and refine the most commercial, before the company commits significant financial resources to production.
But more than anything else, Amazon in driving the changes in the book publishing world.
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